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Dear Bishop Athanasius,
after reading your open letter to Bishop Strickland, we must state that not only us, but every orthodox Catholic bishop and believer can sign it. You aptly quote church fathers like St Basil the Great and St Athanasius. After the initial enthusiasm, however, the believers presented us with several objections. We feel in our conscience that we should draw your attention to them.
First objection: Why did Bishop Schneider not write a similar open letter to Archbishop Lenga? His book “The Bergoglian Sect” presents the current situation in a more Catholic and radical manner, namely that a heretic cannot be a valid pope. Archbishop Lenga’s statement is also in agreement with the teachings of the Church Fathers and the Holy Scriptures. Abp Lenga clearly shows that because of the public heresies which Francis Bergoglio has committed and which he has never retracted, he has publicly excommunicated himself from the Catholic Church. This being the case, he cannot be its head, and Catholics cannot submit to a heretic, because they would submit to the path of heresy and apostasy.
A similar prophetic voice has recently been heard from the well-known American priest Altman. Like Archbishop Lenga, he said that Francis Bergoglio was not even a Catholic anymore, and therefore he could not be the head of the Catholic Church.
Bishop Strickland has mentioned in his letter that no one falls into schism for faithfulness to Catholic teaching. A person who has separated from Catholic teaching falls into schism.
To this we can add: A heretic who denies the fundamental truths of faith is not only a schismatic, he is no longer a Christian.
The believers have also come up with another objection, namely that on 20 March 2019 you wrote a treatise entitled “On the Question of a Heretical Pope”, which you have never retracted. The believers say that it is based on the absurd assumption that a heretical pope can in no case be deprived of his office.
The believers quote from your treatise: “The pope gets his authority directly from God and not from the Church; therefore, the Church cannot depose him, for any reason whatsoever.”
We have to respond: A heretical pope is anathematized by God Himself; therefore, the Church obedient to God must depose him.
Next, they quote your words, Bishop Athanasius: “The extremely rare case of a heretical or of a semi-heretical pope must ultimately be endured and suffered in the light of the faith in the Divine character and in the indestructibility of the Church and of the Petrine office.”
We respond: The heretical Pope Francis is hyperactive in promoting heresies in the Church. Unless we effectively press for his immediate resignation in due time, the infection will affect the whole organism and the treatment will not be possible anymore. To appeal hypocritically to the Divine character of the Church, and thus to deceive the public with the aim of keeping a heretic in office, is a crime of manipulation and a sin against the Holy Spirit.
The believers also mention this quote of yours: “The attempt to depose a heretical pope at any cost is a sign of all too human behaviour, which ultimately reflects an unwillingness to bear the temporal cross of a heretical pope.”
Our response is as follows: The attempt to depose a heretical pope is the primary duty of every bishop. It is a sign of true faith, obedience to God’s Word (Gal 1:8-9) and to the Magisterium (the Dogmatic Bull Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio). The believers are also obliged to exert effective pressure to depose a heretic. The heretic and his followers will persecute them for the fulfilment of this will of God.
Such persecution is a true cross which has already been borne since 2018 by Abp C. M. Viganò and by those who are in unity with him. However, you, Bishop Athanasius, are avoiding the true cross and urging people to bear a false cross, namely, to keep the heretical Pope in office at any cost. This will only help his heresies and the entire heretical structure to expand and ultimately destroy the whole Church.
In conclusion, the believers ask: What should we now think about Bishop Schneider if he has not withdrawn his previous statements?
It is up to you, Bishop Athanasius, to give a clear answer.
In the upcoming days, the robber Synod on Synodality, promoting the legalization of LGBTQ in the Church, will begin in the Vatican. This path of denying and eliminating moral and God’s commandments was also promoted by the continental assembly in Prague. It was held under the aegis of Card. Hollerich SJ, and Bishop Bätzing, the main promoter of the German LGBTQ synodal path, gave a speech here. His agenda was received with an ovation.
Cardinal Müller, who does not participate in synodal meetings, has expressed himself clearly about the synodal path. He said that “it is doctrinally incompetent and canonically illegitimate”. This Cardinal has also said recently that if a pope is a public heretic, he automatically loses his office.
Dear Bishop Athanasius, your praises for faithfulness to Catholic teaching cannot go hand in hand with your defence of a heretic on the papal throne, by which you betray Christ and the Gospel. Orthodox doctrine establishes the invalidity of the office of a public heretic, be it bishop or pope.
Your ambiguous attitude leads Catholics to spiritual schizophrenia. It would therefore be of great spiritual benefit to them if you made it clear what your position really is.
Bishops of the Byzantine Catholic Patriarchate (BCP)
23 September 2023